So what did I think? Guess. Alice Grace Ripley, the heroine, is a librarian whose bookwormishness knows no bounds. (Look that up in a dictionary. I dare you.) From setting the kitchen on fire in an attempt to read and fry chicken at the same time, to becoming lost in a novel during a boring funeral eulogy, Alice hardly ever lives in the real world. That all changes when she loses her job and her "beau" in short order and gets the brilliant idea to personally deliver the books she's been collecting for a small town in Kentucky. Things go downhill from there. And by downhill, I mean faster or worse, depending on how you look at it.
For starters, the librarian she's been corresponding with is - you guessed it- a handsome man with an ambiguous name. And he's startled to see the slip of a girl he warned off with a letter she never received. For he's caught up in a web of intrigue that's bigger than the town as he is preparing to expose unfair mining practices and the murder of his best friend. His partner in "crime"? Miss Lillie, a feisty 100 year old ex-slave woman who is the only healer the town has.
Suddenly Alice's life is turned upside down. Soon after she arrives in town, the librarian, Mack, stumbles in to the house with a gunshot wound to the shoulder. Miss Lillie and Mack immediately see the possibilities and cook up a scheme: they will fake Mack's death in order to allow him to continue his detective work. With a little help from Alice, who soon finds herself too busy to read. Now she's living a book instead of turning the pages. From riding up and down the hills delivering books as a packhorse librarian to having a whirlwind romance with a fiddler to sneaking around an abandoned mine in the dead of night, it's the life she never thought she'd lead. There are new friends to make, prejudices to break, a buried treasure to find, a longstanding feud to end, and a faith Alice can finally own instead of leaning on her religious upbringing as the daughter of a preacher.
Wonderland Creek is a rollicking ride that swings the pendulum from excitement to excitement. It is so packed with plot and drama that you won't be able to put it down for long, if at all. You almost have to catch your breath between chapters. I have to admit, my life is a lot like Alice's right now in that I mostly live vicariously through books. Having no job and no prospects will do that to you. Let's just say that as thrilling as it was to read, I would probably not relish a wake-up call like hers. Lynn Austin has penned a delightful tale with characters you will love before you're done.